99. [Chapter 6] Chapter of the Battlefield – Prologue
“…This crazy bastard!”
For the first time in decades after his succession to the throne, Pygni ended up losing control of himself. He kicked a piece of furniture with his fat foot. However, instead of breaking it, his foot ended up swollen and hurt.
“Euhh… it hurts so bad…!”
Pygni was about to kick it again but hesitated. He then looked around to find something else to vent his anger at, locking his gaze on the flower vase near him. He smashed it on the floor with all his strength. The unfortunate thing broke with a crash, and the shards flew off in all directions. Pygni snorted as if he was proud and shrugged his shoulders.
“…You’re putting in quite a lot of strength today?”
Oskal asked with an awkward expression. Pygni, however, did not even glance at him, sweeping his eyes around to search for the next possible target.
“Hnng? Of course! Because it’s been a long time since I was pissed off like this in my life! Damn it all. That bastard Pope should’ve just stayed still and gotten dethroned, instead of acting frantic…! Had he followed the plan, he would’ve been exiled and lived on some island in peace. But no! He must make a fuss and pour oil in the fire like this. I’ll grind his head to dust!”
“But still, keep your dignity. Though, of course, what you said is true.”
Oskal nodded his head in agreement.
Pygni lifted up a chair and struck it down onto the floor. Failing to withstand his anger, the pitiful chair broke into pieces. Oskal remained indifferent to the loss and just shook a few fragments of wood off his leather clothes.
“…By the way, the servants will have a hard time cleaning all this up.”
“Well then, I’ll give them more as a bonus! Don’t we have enough money confiscated from the rebels anyway?”
Oskal shook his head.
There was a reason for Pygni to act like this.
Pope Salem had gained power again. He was even preparing for a large-scale war after assembling the Golden Cross Army. Also, since Pope Salem had sent letters that said ‘Participate in the war!’ to his allies, all the allies, including the Lome Kingdom, had no choice but to follow the command. It couldn’t be helped since it was also a Continental Law that they had to listen to an ally’s plea for help.
“Damn it! Some bastard broke the Continental Law, but the others have to follow along while reading the room? Urazil! Is there no way to kill that bastard Pope? Oskal! How about we hire an assassin to kill him!?”
For Oskal, there was nothing better than the Pope getting assassinated. But it was too much for any assassin, as they would have to get through hundreds, if not thousands, of Holy Knights to reach their target. More than anything, Pope Salem had the tendency of not keeping people close to him unless they were reliable. It was close to impossible to assassinate him.
“War? A war…! Against Aylans Kingdom? Ha! Do you know how dangerous their magic weapons are? Did you forget they possess all manner of Magic firearms? Those things are deadly on the battlefield! They’re the last country that the Lome Kingdom wants to turn into an enemy!”
Oskal recalled the magic musket. It was a gun made of steel, and, when fired, shot out condescended mana. However, not only did he think that he would be able to cut such an attack with a sword, but it also didn’t seem like it would hurt that much even if it hit his body.
“…We can cut it with our swords. And wouldn’t it only feel like a prick even if someone were to be hit?”
“Do you think our army is made up of stupid monsters like you? Oskal! If an ordinary human got shot by one of those things, they would be lucky to even survive! No armor we have can lessen that weapon’s threat.”
Pygni stopped venting his anger and sprawled onto the bed out of exhaustion. He inhaled roughly and frowned.
‘Right, those guns that use magic are also a problem, but the most dangerous is still the royal couple.’
King Paulie and his wife, Akareal.
These two reigned supreme as the most powerful mages in history. If they performed large-scale magic, hundreds would disappear in the blink of an eye. Even if they used such magic spells only two or three times, the damage would still be enormous—almost insufferable.
‘Besides, we’re not only going against the Aylans Kingdom. The most troublesome opponent is the Demon Kingdom!’
The Demon Kingdom!
The country that was said to be made up of demons!
It used to be a ‘hunting ground’ known for adventurers and mercenaries seeking money, but now, it had transformed into a legitimate country. Even though they were newcomers to the continent’s long list of countries, their power couldn’t be looked down on since they had destroyed the Holy Kingdom’s 50,000 elite troops.
‘…On top of that, there’s that monster that killed Holfmann.’
The unprecedented monster, the one who had single-handedly trampled on Holy Kingdom’s former capital.
The Devil of Lania!
He was known for his unique necromancy that combined both holy and demonic powers. The fact that even holy power, which countered the Undead, didn’t work on his summons meant that they had an immortal army that couldn’t be beaten by ordinary soldiers.
‘…For us who fight mainly with swords and not magic, they’re the worst enemy… A war with those bastards?’
The Aylans Kingdom was already troublesome, but to go against the Demon Kingdom with their demons and mysterious necromancy…
It was like sending soldiers straight into a tiger’s mouth.
“What if we break the Continental Law and strike the Holy Kingdom first? Wouldn’t that be more simple?”
“That sounds great! We’ll tear that bastard Salem’s face into pieces while we’re at it!” Oskal chirped, but Pygni banged his head against the bed again.
“…I was kidding. I wish that was possible, though! Why did my father form an alliance with the Holy Kingdom and put me in an awkward position like this? He should’ve thought about the person who was going to be on the throne after him!”
It couldn’t be helped. Participating in this war was inevitable.
‘…An unprecedented war will be waged, sweeping across the whole continent. A war started by Pope Salem’s madness.’
It was also a war that wouldn’t last long. This war was started by Salem, and it would be ended by him.
‘He’s not welcomed by many within the Holy Kingdom’s side. Is an internal assassination something we can hope for?’
But the possibility of success would be… small.
However, the likelihood of a coup d’état happening was more realistic.
‘Is there nothing to do? I’ll have to bide my time. If there’s an opportunity for that chaos to happen, I won’t care about Continental Law or whatever and…’
Oskal looked at Pygni.
“If it was you, would you be able to penetrate through a thousand Holy Knights and kill Pope Salem? As an assassin, only to kill the Pope and run away.”
“…Assassination isn’t honorable for a knight. But I’m not hostile to the idea of killing Salem Gottshuranche. Instead, I want to beat in that bastard’s face and skull…” Oskal said while snickering.
Pygni pressed his forehead.
“I didn’t ask about your perverted, violent imagination. I’m asking if it’s possible.”
“If you order me to”—Oscal tapped his chest with a confident expression—”I can cut that guy’s throat straight away! But it’s impossible at present…”
“Is it because of the debt? About releasing the Hero…?”
“…For now, a debt is debt. I heard that Thoma was released then. Since I’ve promised… as a knight, I have the duty to keep my word.”
Pygni scratched his head as if he was frustrated.
‘Nobody knows about the debt! Can’t he pretend it never happened? Well, if he did, there would be no reason for him to follow me either.’
Pygni sighed and said, “That primness of yours is nice, but sometimes, it frustrates me to death.”
‘Okay, fine. Then… We’re participating in the war. But we’re not going to go against the Aylans Kingdom.’
There was no way Oskal would let his personal feelings interfere with work related to the country. However, it was obvious he would be reluctant to go against Akareal. He wouldn’t hesitate to go against the Demon Kingdom, though.
‘But that’s also dangerous. No matter whether it’s Oscal, it would be hard to win against the Devil of Lania, who killed Holffmann. But he wouldn’t lose either. It would be possible to buy time…! Plus, if I win against the Demon Kingdom, the nobles would stop talking about me being the concubine’s child or whatever.
‘It would also become possible to postpone participation in the future wars indefinitely, under the guise that our state of affairs sre devastated after going against the Demon Kingdom. For that to happen…’
“We need to prepare for the war. And to win against the Demon Kingdom…we’ll investigate the weaknesses of that Devil of Lania first.”
The Demon Kingdom and the Aylans Kingdom had been put on emergency alert. At the same time, the Holy Kingdom assembled the Golden Cross Army for invasion. Also, the word spread that they had gathered the Hero candidates they had picked so far. They would be participating in the upcoming war.
The Aylans Ambassadors sighed upon hearing that.
“It seems as if the Pope is out of his mind! Oh my God… I can’t believe he gathered the Hero candidates for this war.”
“…It seems like he’s thinking of using the Demon Lord’s participation as a justification!”
“Does that even make sense?! Uhuh! The Aylans Kingdom has been giving them so much support for the Hero training all this time. Are they going to bite the hand that fed them?!”
“Furthermore, the Holy Kingdom’s allies are also participating in the war. It seems like the Lome Kingdom’s knights are going to be dispatched.”
Akareal, who was walking in the hallway of the Demon Kingdom royal palace, felt complicated upon hearing the conversation behind her.
The Lome Kingdom. It meant Oskal, her former colleague, was also participating in the war.
Then she might have to fight against him.
Akareal let out a long sigh. She was exhausted in many ways. Since they were in a state of national emergency, she had to return to her country now.
At this moment, she saw a familiar figure walking in her direction. A woman with black hair and fair—to the point it was pale—skin. Akareal was sure the woman was one of the apostles serving the Demon Lord.
‘Was her name… Ellin?’
Werewolves were following her with spears in hand, as if they were patrolling the royal palace.
Ellin curtsied simply. She bowed her head when she saw Akareal.
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